Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Are We Ready for Location Based Marketing?

Forrester Research released a study this week that found that only 4% of U.S. online adults have ever used location-based mobile apps. This has serious implications for marketers who are considering investing in location based services (LBS) as a new piece of their integrated marketing strategy.

An article published on AdAge.com highlights some of the stats found in the Forrester report and provides some relevant insight to the current usage of other mobile apps such as Twitter. In addition, the study—which was released on July 26, 2010—has sent a ripple through the blogosphere attracting much criticism.

Forrester concludes that “bold, male-targeted marketers start testing but that most marketers should wait until they can get a bigger bang for their buck, when adoption rates increase and established players emerge from the fray.”

Is this a good recommendation?

Location based service providers such as Foursquare and Near Here have drawn significant attention from marketers as an attractive and viable way to reach new customers. According to Foursquare, “As a business owner, you can use foursquare to engage your increasingly mobile customers with foursquare "Specials," which are discounts and prizes you can offer your loyal customers when they check in on foursquare at your venue.” The article continues, “Additionally, if you offer foursquare Specials to your customers, you will be able to track how your venue is performing over time thanks to our robust set of venue analytics — for free!” Given the popularity of GPS, Twitter, Facebook, Wiki’s and the literally thousands of iPhone and other mobile apps it is not far fetched to imagine the potential that Location Based Services has to offer.

It is a fact that only a very small percentage has ever heard of location based services let alone adopted the technology. However, history tells us that many of the most successful digital technologies have been a boon for early adopters. For Forrester to say that marketers should wait until the Location Based technology is more widely adopted is short sighted at best. By the time time the market has embraced the technology the marketers who established themselves early on will have not only have gained learning curve benefits, but they will have secured a large amount of market share to be had from the technology. The marketers who decide to wait will be playing catch-up to those who capitalized early on.

In an unrelated story, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last month at a London press conference “We are finishing designing our application soon and hope to offer it soon.” If a the social media giant were to launch a LBS application it would certainly increase awareness of the technology among consumers.

Given the buzz surrounding Location Based Technology and the potential for adoption in the near future, marketers should think twice before taking the advice of Forrester.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Marketing Small Business With Twitter

Twitter. How can such an asinine word have such a colossal effect on society? How can 140 characters of text create more buzz than a multi-million dollar ad campaign? How can it be that Twitter is revolutionizing business?

According to our e-marketingclass text, “The mass market has been slowly disappearing since about 1992, as evidenced by the decline in prime-time television ratings, growth of cable television, and increasing number of special interest magazines. The internet put finality to this trend by extending it to its ultimate—a market size of one customer—and prompted marketers to create products and communication to small target groups.”

Reaching a niche customer segment has always played to the benefit of the small business and the changing marketing environment described above presents small businesses with an unprecedented opportunity.

Twitter gives small business owners the ability to effectively reach and engage customers and prospects in a way that was never before possible. Mom-and-Pop retailers, restaurants, and even street vendors have realized the benefits of Twitter and are seeing results. In a recent New York Times article, Marketing Small Business with Twitter, we are introduced to a small business owner who operates a crème brulee cart in San Francisco named Curtis Kimball. Through Twitter, Curtis has built up a local following of engaged, word-of-mouth customers totaling over 5400 subscribers. He sends out tweets with his location and the special flavor of the day as well as other various tweets about his personal life. As a result of the success that Curtis assigns solely to his Twitter success, Curtis has quit his day job as a carpenter and focused all his effort on his small business.

The article goes on to say, “Much has been made of how big companies like Dell, Starbucks and Comcast use Twitter to promote their products and answer customers’ questions. But today, small businesses outnumber the big ones on the free microblogging service, and in many ways, Twitter is an even more useful tool for them.”

So what is the big picture that small businesses need to see when approaching Twitter and understanding its value? For one, according to ComScore, Twitter is the largest and fastest growing website in the U.S. and registration grew over 3000% (thousand) percent to 17 million users last year alone. In addition, ComScore shows that the fastest growing demographic segment falls within the 18-24 year old category—the highly evasive and prized Gen Y segment that continues to elude the worlds best marketers. Most importantly, it’s simple to use and costs nothing more than the time it takes to post a Tweet.

The New York times article focuses on small businesses using Twitter as a promotional tool. However, the possibilities that Twitter offers small businesses and antkeg remi individuals go far beyond just promotion. It’s all about building relationships with the customer and engaging with them.

In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Six Ways to find Value in Twitters Noise, businesses can use Twitter to listen to what their customers are saying about their products and services. New search tools designed specifically for mining Twitter content such as http://www.tweetdeck.com/ allow business to use search terms such as brand names, SKU numbers and emotions to monitor the customer experience and respond accordingly. For example, the article states, “Finding negative words is a good way to locate consumers' pain points. Though not frequently, DISAPPOINTED and PROBLEM appeared in tweets that focused on product functionality. Customer service could be adjusted to address the most common complaints.”

Clearly, companies have found numerous ways to leverage Twitters functionality to help grow their business and manage their brand image. A study conducted by eMarketer shows many of the different ways B2B and B2C organizations are using Twitter. Interestingly, the top three reasons companies are using Twitter deal with monitoring PR issues, reaching out to the customer for one-on-one engagement, and attempting to contact customers who have had negative experiences to try and rectify the situation. Prior to the advent of Web 2.0, customer interaction of this nature was non-existent.

While the evidence of Twitters benefits to small businesses is clear, there are criticisms. Some companies have missed the mark on the concept of Twitter as an interactive communication platform and use it simply as a medium to spam customers and run endless promotions. Going back to the e-marketingclass text statement describing a market size of one customer, using Twitter for spam and strictly impersonal promotional communication will drive off many of the consumers—particularly Gen Y consumers—who are resistant to advertising.

Overall, it is clear that small businesses have an abundance of opportunity to make connections with customers, build relationships and grow business through the use of Twitter.

- Tom Keefe

Monday, July 12, 2010

Marketing Small Business With Twitter - Citations


Six Ways to Find Value in Twitter's Noise.Full Text Available Harvard Business Review, Jun2010, Vol. 88 Issue 6, p34-35, 2p, 1 Diagram; (AN 50754430)

Ann Meyer. (2010, July 12). Learning to connect with social media :Experts say Facebook, Twitter offer low-cost ways to reach customers. Chicago Tribune,p. 19. Retrieved July 13, 2010, from Chicago Tribune. (Document ID: 2077959401).



Thursday, July 8, 2010

E-Marketingclass blog link